Vaccination record card showing booster dose of covid-19 vaccine. The thrid vaccination for immunity against delta variant.

In a win for the Biden administration, a U.S. federal appeals court on Wednesday reinstated a vaccine mandate affecting millions of healthcare workers at federally funded healthcare facilities in 26 states.

The decision handed down by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that a lower court only had the authority to block the mandate in the 14 states that sued. The court ruled the lower court was wrong to impose a nationwide injunction.

The mandate, which was issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, remains temporarily blocked in 24 states — the 14 states, as mentioned, involved in the case reviewed by the New Orleans appeals court, and the 10 states where the mandate was blocked nationally by a separate ruling in late November.

The rule originally required more than 2 million unvaccinated healthcare workers get their first shots by Dec. 6. The mandate requires healthcare facilities who receive funding from CMS must require staff get vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose government funding. 

The Biden administration’s two mandates — one impacting healthcare workers (CMS) and another impacting workers at companies with more than 100 employees (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) — have faced a barrage of court challenges since they were announced earlier in the fall.

Earlier this week, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Biden administration’s request to lift a district court’s injunction that blocked the CMS mandate. This order only applies to Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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